Cover image for The big lie
The big lie
Physical Description:
pages cm.

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As the Electoral College battle for the White House lands in a Florida courtroom, Miami attorney Jack Swyteck has never felt farther from the truth, fighting for a "faithless elector," caught between a corrupt president and his manipulative opponent--with each revelation more explosive than the next.

The country is reeling. For the sixth time in American history, the winner of the popular vote will not occupy the Oval Office. President Malcolm MacLeod, the Machiavellian incumbent, was spared from impeachment only because his political foes were certain they would oust him at the ballot box. Now, he appears to have secured a second term, thanks to a narrow victory in the Electoral College.

His opponent, Florida Senator Evan Stahl, saw his campaign rocked by allegations of an extramarital affair--with another man. Despite the salacious headline-making scandal and the surrounding media frenzy, most Americans chose Stahl to lead the politically polarized nation. But Stahl is refusing to concede. Backed by millions of supporters, he looks to individual members of the Electoral College to cross party lines.

Gun lobbyist Charlotte Holmes is one of Floridas twenty-nine electors who is bound by law and by oath to cast her vote for MacLeod, who won Florida by the thinnest of margins. When Charlotte announces that she intends to vote her conscience and throw the Electoral College to Stahl, the president and his Florida machine haul her into court on felony charges--which, for some, isn't nearly punishment enough.

Miami attorney Jack Swyteck is going to use every legal maneuver he can to keep his new client free--and alive. MacLeod's hand-picked prosecutor is determined to prove Charlotte is unfit to cast a vote. Dredging through her past, he's looking for skeletons to humiliate and discredit her, while others with far deadlier intentions have begun acting on their threats.

As the pressure mounts, Charlotte and Jack must decide how far they'll go to stand their ground in the stand-your-ground state.

Author Notes

Author James Grippando was born in Antioch, Illinois in 1958. He spent one year at the University of Illinois before transferring to the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he received his B.A. with high honors and his law degree with honors. While in law school, he was executive editor of the University of Florida Law Review. He was practicing commercial litigation with the law firm of Steel Hector & Davis for 12 years before becoming a full-time writer. He wrote his first two novels while he was still working as a trial lawyer. His novels include the Jack Swyteck series.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

An all-too-timely scenario drives bestseller Grippando's solid 16th Jack Swyteck novel (after 2019's The Girl in the Glass Box). President Malcolm MacLeod, whom Democrats had been threatening to impeach since they retook the House in the midterms, has lost the popular vote in his bid for a second term, but he's ahead in the Electoral College. MacLeod's opponent, Florida senator Evan Stahl, refuses to concede and hopes "to convince five Republican electors to break ranks" and vote for him. Stahl wants Swyteck to act as attorney for electors considering the possibility, focusing primarily on Charlotte Holmes, a former member of a pro-gun lobbying firm. Charlotte should be pro-MacLeod, but wants to vote her conscience. She's jeered by MacLeod and his rabid fans, and she's also stalked, threatened, and kidnapped. Grippando stuffs the story with commentary on such hot-button topics as the polarization of today's media, Florida's "stand your ground" law, and the deep state. Readers uneasy in the current political climate won't feel any easier. Those who prefer escapism in their thrillers should look elsewhere. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Feb.)

Booklist Review

President Malcolm MacLeod is venal and racist, more concerned with personal wealth than with his presidential responsibilities. His political adversaries opted to defeat him via the ballot rather than impeach him. Oops. MacLeod loses the popular vote by five million but appears to have narrowly won the electoral college. Contributing to the likely result was a gay affair by his heterosexually married opponent, Evan Stahl. Stahl's only hope for a win is if members of the electoral college cross party lines and vote for him instead of MacLeod. The focal point of the electoral-college revolt is one-time gun lobbyist Charlotte Holmes. MacLeod throws the full weight of the federal judiciary against her. The rabid partisanship of MacLeod's base adds an element of physical jeopardy for Holmes. Miami attorney Jack Swyteck, boasting impressive success defending underdogs, takes up MacLeod's defense, but this may be his biggest challenge yet. He and his client appear on the verge of winning until Charlotte is involved in a shooting. Thriller veteran Grippando puts a strong criminal spin on the current political environment in this compelling entry in the long-running Swyteck series.--Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2019 Booklist

Kirkus Review

Want a break from the ruthless 24/7 cycle of political ups and downs? Stay miles away from this latest case for Miami attorney Jack Swyteck (The Girl in the Glass Box, 2019, etc.), ripped not so much from the headlines as from your deepest electoral nightmares.Despite the manifest character blemishesblustering, lying, uncontrollable adulteries, and tweetstorms that nearly got him impeachedPresident Malcolm MacLeod seems headed to a narrow victory over Florida Sen. Evan Stahl Jr., whose ratings took a nose dive when his refusal to identify the party with whom he'd cheated on his now-estranged wife, Gwen, of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, led to widespread speculation, eagerly fed by MacLeod, that his lover was (gasp!) another man. Stahl's only path to the presidency is the hope that five members of the Electoral College will break ranks and cast their votes for Stahl, who won 5 million more votes than MacLeod despite losing the Electoral College. And at least one elector is ready to turn faithless: Charlotte Holmes, the associate and hand-picked successor to gun rights lobbyist Madeline Chisel. Will her principled defection start a groundswell? Not if MacLeod loyalist Paulette Barrow, the Florida attorney general, has anything to say about it. Barrow promptly files a suit against Charlotte as "unfit" so that the Republican governor, Terry Mulvane, can replace her with a reliable loyalist. Seeking Jack's legal representation with the perfect come-onelectoral law expert Matthew Kipner "specifically told me not to hire you"Charlotte stiffens her spine and prepares for weeks of public abuse. What she doesn't prepare for is the wholly unexpected but obligatory trial for murder that simultaneously deepens her peril, confirms this headlong legal thriller's genre credentials, and ensures that no one will mistake it for real life. The complications that follow are expertly spun, and the courtroom maneuvers on both sides are impressively baroque, but the gorgeous Electoral College premise marks the beginning of a wild ride that runs off the rails long before the fade-out.The multilayered case gets so crazy that it may provide escapist solace after all. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

When Democratic presidential candidate Evan Stahl wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College by five votes, he refuses to concede. Since the Electoral College votes six weeks after the popular election, he hopes to persuade five electors to change their vote, their ability to do so open to varying legal interpretations. Florida elector Charlotte Holmes is the first to declare herself a "faithless elector" and switch from Republican incumbent Malcolm MacLeod to Stahl, unleashing a smear campaign from MacLeod as well as a hearing to determine Holmes's fitness as an elector. She hires Jack Swyteck to defend her at the hearing, which is rife with innuendo, supposition, and fake news. When she fatally shoots a belligerent man threatening a friend, the stakes become higher. Throughout, MacLeod pressures the prosecuting attorney to get Holmes declared unfit by any means necessary and tweets up a storm. VERDICT This 16th Swyteck political thriller (after The Girl in the Glass Box) parallels the current political climate with a tweet-happy president and a system in which a majority popular vote no longer means a win. A ruthless candidate might use this engrossing and scary book as a how-to manual. [See Prepub Alert, 7/29/19.]--Edward Goldberg, Syosset P.L., NY